Unregulated crossings at Torkham

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ACCORDING to a media report, days before the deadly attack on Bacha Khan University Campus in Charsadda, four militants quietly crossed the regular border crossings at Torkham without any checks or hindrances, making mockery of the border management and security arrangements. This is just one example of how unregulated border crossings are playing havoc with the security interests of the country.
There are two formal border crossings — one at Torkham and the other at Chaman but regrettably we have not been able to devise an appropriate mechanism to regulate flow of people and goods movement on the Durand Line. Thousands cross the Line from either side and there is no satisfactory checking of these people and therefore, no one knows how many of them are enemy agents, terrorists or even foreign spies. Apart from wholesale presence of Afghan nationals in Pakistan and their daily movement in thousands, there are also millions of illegal immigrants from other nationalities including Indians. We have been hearing since long about measures to check illegal border crossings, introduction of biometric system and action against illegal immigrants but so far the situation is as serious as it was before. We have launched a comprehensive operation against extremists and terrorists within Pakistan but it has been rendered ineffective due to absence of any dependable mechanism to secure our borders. Development of foolproof checking and tracking system at all entry points including Torkham, Chaman, all airports and seaports could help mitigate the problem. There are reasons to believe that the officials posted at these points are hands in glove and they mint money at the expense of national security, law and order. There is, therefore, also need for making all these officials accountable. We hope that the Interior Minister, in coordination with provincial governments, paramilitary forces and intelligence agencies, would put in place a comprehensive mechanism to secure our borders.